|Publication number||US6903706 B1|
|Application number||US 10/101,503|
|Publication date||Jun 7, 2005|
|Filing date||Mar 20, 2002|
|Priority date||Mar 20, 2002|
|Publication number||10101503, 101503, US 6903706 B1, US 6903706B1, US-B1-6903706, US6903706 B1, US6903706B1|
|Inventors||Lorne Trottier, Yves Tremblay, Razid Samdjy, Robert Lafleur, Stéphane Tremblay|
|Original Assignee||Matrox Graphics Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (25), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention relates to enabling multi-display output to a plurality of display devices. More specifically, it relates to driving dual displays having Digital Visual Interface (DVI).
The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is widely accepted as the standard digital interface for digital display devices like flat panels. The Digital Display Working Group (DDWG) developed the specification for DVI. DVI uses Silicon Image's PanelLink technology, which is a high-speed serial interface that uses transition minimized differential signaling (TMDS) to send data to the monitor.
Transition minimized refers to a reduction in the number of high-to-low and low-to-high swings on a signal. Differential describes the method of transmitting a signal using a pair of complementary signals. The encoding uses logic to minimize the number of transitions, which helps avoid excessive electromagnetic interference levels on the cable, thereby increasing the transfer rate and improving accuracy.
DVI allows for two TMDS logical links according to a specification, called Dual-Link. Each link is composed of 3 differential data pair (RGB+control signals), shares a differential clock pair and, using the present standard, has a maximum bandwidth of 165 MHz for a single link and 330 MHz for two links. The DVI specification requires that once a mode requires a pixel clock greater than 165 MHz, then it must use the second link as well. The two links share the same clock so that the bandwidth is evenly divided between them. The system enables one or both links, depending on the capabilities of the monitor. Dual-Link uses a first one of the data links to transmit odd pixels and the second data link to transmit even pixels.
DVI also takes advantage of other features built into existing display standards. For example, provisions are made for Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) specifications, which enable the monitor, graphics adapter, and computer to communicate and automatically configure the system to support the different features available in the monitor.
In the state of the art, Dual-Link allows for high-resolution display on one output device. There is a need to drive two flat panel screens together, but to have their displays independent from each other. This need is fed by the desire for more ergonomic work areas with displays of increased real estate. The cost of buying two 15 inch monitors is significantly low compared to the cost of buying one 19 inch monitor. Similarly, a flat panel screen takes up a lot less room on a work area, such as a desk, than a standard monitor does.
Moreover, the digital panel display market is growing from month to month. With the pressure on graphics adapter manufacturers to produce products for the digital panel market, there is a growing need for a system that can accommodate not only one digital display, but also two simultaneous ones with independent images.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to allow a system that can drive two displays that use Digital Visual Interface (DVI) for displaying two separate pictures on two separate output devices simultaneously. In the specification, this is referred to as dual DVI.
Another object of the present invention is to allow a system that can selectively drive two displays, each using a single link, or one high-resolution display using two single links, allowing twice the bandwidth for one display. In this specification, Dual-Link is used to mean a system that can display an image using two pipelines by sending data representing a first portion of the image via one pipeline and data representing a second portion of the image via the second pipeline.
According to a first broad aspect of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for providing output to at least two digital displays, said apparatus comprising a serializer having a first channel and a second channel, an odd pixel input, an even pixel input, an odd pixel output, an even pixel output, and a serializer clock controlling the first and second channels, synchronized with a pixel clock signal and having an output adapted to feed at least two digital displays over separate channels; a first display controller output carrying a first display pixel stream connected to the odd pixel input; a second display controller output carrying a second display pixel stream connected to the even pixel input, the first and second display pixel streams synchronized according to the pixel clock signal; a first digital display connector operatively connected between the odd pixel output, the serializer clock output, and a first single link digital display; and a second digital display connector operatively connected between the even pixel output, the serializer clock output, and a second single link digital display.
Preferably, an external amplifier is used to amplify a clock signal used to drive the dual displays. Also preferably, an encoder encodes each of the two display pixel streams externally from the serializer.
Alternatively, the apparatus can further comprise a primary requestor to generate the first display pixel stream; an overlay requestor to generate the second display pixel stream; a blender unit receiving an output from the primary requestor and an output from the overlay requestor and producing a blended output, wherein the blended output is the first display controller output; and wherein the output from the overlay requestor is also the second display controller output and the primary requestor and the secondary requestor are driven by the pixel clock.
According to a second broad aspect of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for providing output to at least two digital displays, the apparatus comprising: a serializer having a first channel and a second channel, an odd pixel input, an even pixel input, an odd pixel output, an even pixel output, and serializer clock circuitry synchronized with a pixel clock signal and having output for at least two digital displays; a first display controller output carrying a first display pixel stream connected to the odd pixel input; a second display controller output carrying a second display pixel stream connected to the even pixel input, the first and second display pixel streams being synchronized according to the pixel clock signal; a first clock bridge circuit that synchronizes the first digital display pixel stream from a first clock rate to a second clock rate; a second clock bridge circuit that synchronizes the second digital display pixel stream from a first clock rate to a second clock rate; a hold control circuit to control the first clock bridge circuit, and the second clock bridge circuit, wherein the hold control circuit sends a hold signal indicating that data is to be held for a clock cycle; a multiplexor to selectively transmit to the second channel at least one of the first display pixel stream and the second display pixel stream; a digital display connector operatively connected to the odd pixel output, the even pixel output, and the serializer clock output.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description and accompanying drawings wherein:
While illustrated in the block diagrams as ensembles of discrete components communicating with each other via distinct data signal connections, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the preferred embodiments are provided by a combination of hardware and software components, with some components being implemented by a given function or operation of a hardware or software system, and many of the data paths illustrated being implemented by data communication within a computer application or operating system. The structure illustrated is thus provided for efficiency of teaching the present preferred embodiment.
One output from the display controller 1 transmits only the odd pixels of a frame while the other output transmits only the even pixels from the same frame. This is a standard procedure used to provide higher resolution at a bandwidth that exceeds 165 MHz. This configuration is used to drive a single digital flat panel screen. A Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) 30 generates a X10 clock signal that drives the serializer 4, defined as the serial input clock. The pixel PLL 31 generates the pixel clock that drives the display controller 1, the encoders 2 and 3, and the serializer 4. The pixel clock is also fed as input to the PLL 30. The outputs of the serializer 4 are sent to a connector 27 to which one end of a cable can be connected, the other end being connected to an output display.
The present invention uses part of the configuration shown in
An alternative embodiment for the amplification of the clock is shown in FIG. 3. The amplification can be built-in to the serializer 4. As in the previous embodiment, there are two amplifiers 11 and 12, one for each link, and it follows that there are also two clock pin-outs for the serializer 4. There is still only one clock in the serializer 4. The amplifiers 11 and 12 perform the same function as they do when they are external. The clock signals are amplified in order to drive two digital displays.
Alternatively, the two display controller outputs can be implemented via a single display controller 1, wherein the one unit comprises a primary requester 13 and an overlay requester 14. This embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 4. Both requesters 13 and 14 transmit their data to a blender unit 15 that combines the data from the two into one and transmits its output to encoder 2. The overlay requestor 14 also sends its data from the display controller 1 to a multiplexor 8. The multiplexor 8 selects between the data from the blender unit 15 and the overlay requestor 14 to send to encoder 3 so as to choose from independent dual display output and a simultaneous mode. Encoders 2 and 3 then proceed to transmit to serializer 4 and the rest of the process remains the same as the case where there are two separate display controllers 1 and 10. Clearly, the variances illustrated in
As is the case for the two display controller configuration, there are alternative ways of implementing the clocks that will drive the output displays.
An important aspect of driving dual displays simultaneously is the synchronizing of the two displays. For the preferred embodiment, this is required when the two displays are operating at the same resolution. Synchronizing the two displays is done by synchronizing the two display controllers 1 and 10. There are two ways in which this can be done: via software and via hardware.
If the two displays are run at different resolutions but on same clock, then the two display controllers 1 and 10 do not need to be synchronized because they are running independently of each other.
The Dual-Link setup described in
In this embodiment, amplifiers 11 and 12 are used to amplify the clock signal for the two low resolution displays. A PLL 5 that generates a clock drives the serializer 4 and is defined as the serial input clock. The serial input clock is passed through a divide by five (divider) 21 to provide a DVI-2 clock, which in turn is passed through a divide by 2 (divider) 22 to provide a DVI clock. A multiplexor 17 selects the DVI clock as the pixel clock for single or dual DVI setup and the DVI-2 clock as the pixel clock for dual link setup to drive the display controllers 1 and 10, the encoders 2 and 3, and the clock bridge circuits 19 and 20. In this case the serializer 4 is driven by the DVI clock and the serial input clock.
Also present in the configuration is a hold control circuit 18. The hold control circuit 18 sends a hold signal to both the encoders 2 and 3 and the clock bridge circuits 19 and 20 to hold data depending on whether it is receiving the data from the odd or even pixel stream. The hold control circuit 18 works with the flip-flop stage 23 as described above. The hold control circuit 18 will hold only for dual link setup. For this configuration, one channel of the serializer 4 transmits odd pixels while the other channel of the serializer 4 transmits even pixels.
Alternatively, the serializer 4 can have two clock output pins. In this case, the DVI clock is split into two clocks and amplified using internal buffers to provide two clock pin outs [clk1 & clk2] for serializer 4. Connector 7 and connector 27 are driven by clk1 and connector 9 is driven by clk2. This situation is depicted in FIG. 7. The connection between both channels of the serializer 4 and connector 27 is done via a special cable. Whether the display controllers 1 and 10 display the same images or different images, and whether they have the same resolution or different resolutions, the two controllers 1 and 10 do not necessarily need to be synchronized. Internal Amplifiers 11 and 12 amplify the clock signals to run each low resolution output display.
An alternative embodiment for the dual DVI and Dual-Link setup is shown in FIG. 8. The clock bridge circuits 19 and 20 are before the encoders 2 and 3. This does not impact the functioning of the circuit.
There are two types of connectors that are used in the preferred embodiment. The first is the Low Force Helix LFH-60 connector. For dual DVI, a cable assembly goes from the LFH-60 connector to two DVI (25 pin) connectors, each of the two DVI connectors being connectable to a flat panel display. For dual link, a special cable is needed to connect one dual link monitor to the LFH-60. The second type of connector used is the MicroCross DVI connector integrated on the graphics board. In this case, there must be two of these connectors on the board (25 pins each). To drive two low-resolution flat panel displays, the displays are connected directly to the connectors. To drive one high-resolution flat panel display, a special cable assembly comprising two connectors to one connection to connect the Dual-Link monitor is needed.
An alternate embodiment comprises daisy-chaining the two low-resolution monitors. In this case, one LFH-60 connector is present on the graphics card. Either one high-resolution monitor or one low-resolution monitor can be connected to the LFH-60 connector via a cable. If a low-resolution monitor is connected, a second low-resolution monitor can be connected to the first low-resolution monitor.
It should be noted that the present invention can be carried out as a method, can be embodied in a system, a computer readable medium or an electrical or electro-magnetic signal.
It will be understood that numerous modifications thereto will appear to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the above description and accompanying drawings should be taken as illustrative of the invention and not in a limiting sense. It will further be understood that it is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention following, in general, the principles of the invention and including such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice within the art to which the invention pertains and as may be applied to the essential features herein before set forth, and as follows in the scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||345/1.1, 345/1.3|
|International Classification||G06F3/14, G09G5/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F3/1423, G09G5/006|
|European Classification||G09G5/00T4, G06F3/14C|
|Aug 15, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MATROX GRAPHICS INC., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TROTTIER, LORNE;TREMBLAY, YVES;SAMDJY, RAZID;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013194/0219;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020501 TO 20020502
|Aug 1, 2006||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Dec 2, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Sep 19, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8